Christmas morning plans around here will be very casual, as we will be glued to the scene that will be unfolding in the family room. It is our son’s first Christmas! The spread on the kitchen counter will consist of a hashbrown casserole that I still have to think up, and a full size version of the Pomegranate Orange Bundt Cake that I did last week, in miniature, during my baking extravaganza. I am sure I will also manage to bake scones, and this will all be washed out with mimosas.

Orange Pomegranate Cake

Orange Pomegranate Cake

Orange Pomegranate Bundt Cake
Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 teas baking soda
3/4 teas baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 stick of butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
2 eggs
1 teas almond extract
2 TB sour cream
pomegranate seeds

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour miniature bundt cake pan.
2. Mix together the flour, salt baking soda and baking powder.
3. Mix the butter and sugar until creamy, add the orange juice till well combined.
4. Add eggs, mixing one at a time. Then add the almond extract and sour cream.
5. Incorporate dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
6. Pour two tablespoons of batter in each mold, add about 10 pomegranate seeds on top of the batter, top with 1 1/2 to 2 additional tablespoons of batter.
6. Bake for 15 minutes.

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Something about the season brings out the desire to bake, even on those of us, self-proclaimed non-bakers. I spent eight hours in the kitchen baking and the results were D-lish. I change up what I make every year, primarily because I love to try new things. The recipes below came from different sources as outlined next to each recipe. Something tells me I am not done for the season though. Lots of ingredients in the pantry, and plenty of rainy days in the forecast.

2008 Holiday Bakeoff

2008 Holiday Bakeoff

  • Lemon Bars – Friend’s grandmother recipe. One thing I love about this recipe, is that is not overly tart, like many lemon bars I have tried.
  • Butterscotch Caramels – Friend’s grandmother recipe. These are addictive! So I managed to overcook the caramel and they are a little harder than I would have wanted. Still, they melt in your mouth.
  • Pumpkin Biscotti – My original recipe. If you stopped by my booth at the Zionsville Farmer’s Market in 2005 or 2006, you have tasted these!
  • Lazy Rugelach – My original recipe. The name says it all. I substituted pie dough in place of the home made dough that the traditional recipes call for. Then filled them with cherry preserves and chocolate.
  • Almond and Cranberry Pinwheels – My original recipe – Another pie dough creation. Filled with almond pastry filling, cranberries, cinnamon, and sliced almonds…. yum!
  • Pomegranate Orange Mini Bundt Cakes – My original recipe. These are super moist and crumbly. Hard to stop at one!
  • Russian Tea Cakes – My original recipe. Filled with raspberry jam and almond pastry filling this time; but the filling possibilities are endless.
  • Shortbread – Epicurious.com recipe.  Just bake them for 12-15 minutes instead of the 20 recommended in the recipe.
  • Almond Clouds – Recipe from a fellow blogger. These look like Mexican wedding cookies; however, the cookie itself is not super sweet, so the dusting of powdered sugar is just a perfect ending.

I got some of the sweetest pomegranates at the store today. The juice is delicious, and very good for you. Full of antioxidants and vitamins.

Just a few notes before you start working with the pomegranates.

  • wear gloves and an apron when seeding the pomegranates, the stains from the juice are pretty tough.
  • squeeze ligtly as you would an orange
  • cut the pomegranates in fourths and then pull apart sections to pull out seeds.

Pomegranate Port Chop

Pomegranate Port Chop

Ingredients:

rind of one lemon
juice of one lemon
2 TB oregano
2 garlic cloves, crushed
salt & pepper
1 rack of lamb, about 7 or 8 chops
1 cup Port wine
1 large pomegranate, juiced and seeded

Method
1. Preheat oven to 400.**
2. In a bowl, mix together the first five ingredients.
3. Rub the lamb with the seasoning mixture prepared on step 1, and set aside.

4. In a small saucepan, cook the port wine and juice of one pomegranate till reduced by half. One pomegranate will yield about a 1/2 cup of juice, if not, supplement with bottled pomegranate juice.
5. Add 2 TB of the pomegranate seeds to the wine reduction and set aside.
6. Grill the lamb chops, meat side down, for 8 minutes. Turn, and grill for an additional 2 minutes. This will yield medium rare chops.
7. Remove from the grill and let it rest covered for 3 minutes.
8. Carve and dress with pomegranate reduction.
** Note: Our “grilling” method of choice during the winter months is by bringing a cast iron skillet to temperature inside the oven and then placing the meat on it to cook. We only do these for steaks and lamb chops. Alternatively you can use an outdoor grill.